The US has threatened the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act, which targets the Syrian regime and its allies.
Washington stressed that it opposes the measures taken by Abu Dhabi to approach the Syrian regime, pointing out that its sanctions against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime may target Emirati parties.
During a press conference on the implementation of the "Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act", the US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Franklin Jeffrey announced: "The UAE knows that we absolutely refuse that countries take such steps… We have clearly stressed that we consider this a bad idea," on the reopening of the UAE embassy in Damascus, and the recent visit of an Emirati delegation to Syria.
Jeffrey considered that such measures: "Will not contribute to the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution [No. 2254] and the ending of the conflict that deeply worries the whole region."
"Anyone who engages in economic activities, whether in the UAE or in other countries, and these activities conform to the standards of the law of sanctions, may be targeted by these sanctions," added Jeffrey.
On Wednesday, the US imposed sanctions on 39 people and entities, including Al-Assad and his wife Asma, to deprive his government of funding sources in an attempt to push it to return to the UN-led negotiations.
In a statement announcing those targeted by the sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that "many more" sanctions are expected to be imposed on Al-Assad's government in the upcoming weeks and months.
At the end of 2018, the UAE reopened its embassy to Al-Assad's regime in Damascus, following restoration work in the embassy after a closure that lasted nearly six years, although the UAE has been one of the most prominent critics of Al-Assad's regime in the international arena.
Over the years, the UAE has been receiving businessmen affiliated with Al-Assad's regime, who may have been targeted by US sanctions, especially as the Syrian regime relies on such people to operate its own funds abroad.